Songs of innocence and experience, a love story.

Part one: Innocence

Pull the curtain back. Cue the strings.

Before 1982 my heart had not been broken. Before 1982 my heart hadn't been even bruised. The cellophane wrapper that surrounded it was still squeaky clean and pristine.

I was 19, had bad skin and was in love with pop music if nothing, no one, else.

And then that autumn I left home and met a girl. For a while she ignored me. And then she didn't. At which point the cellophane – already looking creased and wrinkled - came right off.

But how do you know what life is, what love is, at that age? Where do you look for models? I looked to the one thing I already knew how to love. I looked to pop songs.

We would go to her room and listen to records. Singles like Party Fears Two and Temptation ("ooh you've got blue eyes," I'd sing to the girl) and Love My Way; albums like New Gold Dream, Imperial Bedroom, Songs to Remember, Sulk, Too-Rye-Ay, Living My Life. All the music that meant something (to us at least) at that moment in pop time.

And after we listened to all of those we'd then put on The Lexicon of Love. A record about desire and pain ("who broke my heart? You did. You did."). A record that shimmered, a record that swaggered, a collection of songs that remade pop anew and made it sound so thrilling, so poised, so potent, it made us giddy to listen to it. Jesus, I loved that record.

And secretly I'd listen to the singer – whose skin wasn't so great back then either - sing about love and pain and imagine I was him.

Jump cut.

It is 2015 and Martin Fry is in a studio near Oxford. There's a new record to be made. But now, right now, he is talking to me. About the boy he was and the man he is. About the record he made way back when that he is now about to tour again.

He has played these songs many times in the years between then and now. In big halls and small clubs and in fields for ageing fans seeking a nostalgic fix from whatever passing eighties pop star has been roped in for the day. But this is different. Soon he will come to Glasgow and play The Lexicon of Love in its entirety backed by an orchestra conducted by composer Anne Dudley (who arranged what strings there were on the original album).

"I don't think we've played in Scotland before with the full orchestra, he says. "Anne Dudley conducting. ABC in their glory. A couple of years ago we tried it at the Albert Hall in London and it worked really well. I know sometimes you put a rock band near an orchestra and the fit's not quite right but with The Look of Love and Poison Arrow and All of My Heart it felt like bringing it home."

But where did that journey start? For that we need to go back to the start of the 1980s.

Once upon a time ABC were called Vice Versa, a post-punk band from Sheffield. Fry, David Palmer, Steve Singleton, Mark White (and Mark Lickley who would leave before the making of The Lexicon of Love). As a teenager Fry had hiked around to watch the Subway Sect, Siouxsie, the Pistols and the Clash. "It was great to stand in those rooms and watch those bands. But I remember going to clubs and seeing a whole different audience dancing to Chic and Sister Sledge. So I think what we were trying to do when I look back was try to make music that could be played in both of those rooms."

There were others doing something similar, he recalls. "That was definitely in the air back then. You heard it when you heard I Travel by Simple Minds or Stimulin or Funkapolitan or Haircut 100. The desire to make records that worked on the dancefloor."

From that came their first single Tears Are Not Enough, which placed them in the vicinity of Britfunk  (Steve Singleton's sax playing on the B side was pure New York No Wave skronk by contrast. You imagine James Chance would have approved).

But by the time they made singles like Poison Arrow and The Look of Love and then the album they belong to there was more going on. There was a fresh level of ambition. There was a vision of this thing the journalist Paul Morley in the NME had labelled new pop. ABC were to become its standard bearer.

To do so they teamed up with the producer Trevor Horn, inspired by something they heard in his work with Silvikrin hair-flicked popsters Dollar. "We'd heard his production on Dollar's Hand Held in Black and White and it had a sheen to it which sounded closer to Kraftwerk really than Bucks Fizz," Fry recalls. On The Lexicon of Love the band and producer would go further. The album became a blueprint for eighties pop for good (the ambition, the scale, the self-belief) and maybe ill. (How many eighties pop stars just heard the polish and not the pain of the record; how many just saw Fry's shiny suits?)

Me,I fell in love with ABC the moment I heard Poison Arrow and the break in the record when the loudest drums in the world clatter down and down and down, "like Zeus kicking a fridge down the side of Mount Olympus," as Marcello Carlin notes in his celebrated online essay on the blog Then Play Long. By the time Look of Love came out - a song implausibly, impossibly better even than Poison Arrow - I was besotted.

But then in 1982 everyone was besotted. Everyone seemed to love that record, or at least to fall in love to it. ("Your lipstick and your lip gloss seals my fate.") For a while ABC were on top of the world.

And then, well, life happens, doesn't it? Members left. Fry went on, made other records, got ill (Hodgkin's Disease, a leukaemia-like lymphatic cancer that meant he had to suffer two or three years of chemotherapy), got better, made more records, even had hits, but more in America than in the UK.

And so here, three decades later, ABC are known for what Fry and his bandmates did when they were in their early twenties. Does it feel that it overshadowed everything he did afterwards, I wonder? The 2015 Fry says not. "No. It set the benchmark. People loved that record. They still do."

I tell him I am one of them. But this is what I don't tell him. That in 1982 I was growing up and not knowing what that might entail. What might a man look like? Not John Wayne or Sly Stallone, I knew that. "Too cool for the macho ache," as someone sang and I wanted to believe.

Not Kevin Rowland, I didn't think, much as I loved him. Those dungarees. Maybe Martin Fry though. I could see that. The man who didn't believe in love or who said he didn't. And yet what was that album but the beat, beat, beat of his heart?

I could be that man, maybe. I could be the lover (spurned or sated, whatever is allowed). Or at least try to be.

This is the kind of thing you might think when you're 19 and looking up to men who are three years older than you. But who was the 22-year-old boy he was then. Martin, who was the boy who made that record? "Yeah … yeah … I think about that a lot because I've got a son and a daughter." He pauses. The distance between us seems to grow and grow in the silence.

"I think I was pretty manic," he continues eventually. "I think I was on a quest to change pop music. I was totally absorbed by that. Living in Sheffield and not really having many outlets, I couldn't see a future. So looking back all of us in the band, we threw everything into that. We were devoted to the cause of making a record that we wanted the world to cherish.

"But I think that's every band does that, don't they? You take on the world."

It is time to talk about love, I think. What did you know about love back then, Martin? "You asked me earlier about the guy I was. Very sensitive guy. Very vulnerable guy definitely. Heartfelt. Tears Are Not Enough was the first thing we ever did and it's all there really. It was a manifesto. "Searching for certainty in such an unstable world." That's what I was like, I think.

"And I'd had my heart broken a few times. I was feeling it. But fortunately for me a lot of people across the world have had that feeling too and that's part of the reason I get to sing The Look of Love and All of My Heart and Poison Arrow in 2015. Love, yeah, love's a very real thing. There's a lot of elation and a lot of despair in those songs."

Part Two: Experience

Martin Fry is 57 years old now. I'm following just a few years behind. He is married, has, as we have already established, a son and a daughter who are now older than he was when he made The Lexicon of Love. In the years between then and now he has been well, has been ill, has got through, is still here. He has made new records and still sings the old ones. Now he says he is making a new album. "It's going to be a take on The Lexicon of Love, but all these years on. I'm a man in my fifties now with a wealth of experience. It's about how you grow older but you make the same mistakes over and over and over again."

That's the mark of a man isn't it? But love must change? It can't be the same thing it was when you're 19 or 24 or 33, can it? "That's what the songs I'm writing now are trying to capture. To be with somebody at your absolute worst and yet they still respect you and love you. That's special. I don't know if it's possible to get that into a song. I think maybe it is. I'm going to try."

ABC will perform The Lexicon of Love with the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by Anne Dudley at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall on November 5.